Posted - November 15, 2015
The Thing Marvel Two-In-One 13 to 15:
The next Marvel Two-In-One guest star is a head shaker: the Son of Satan. You have got to be kidding me. It seems that Hell, with its cast of characters, was just too colorful a place for Marvel to pass up. These days, Marvel has veered away from the more religious-centric Satan to a devil of their own creation, Mephisto. But not in this story. Here we are dealing with Damon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, who, quite frankly, behaves like an angel - and not a fallen one at that. Let's take a look at this guy.
This rendition really makes me chuckle. Specially the pentagram at the chest area. This is the kind of thing that would really rile up religious groups. I'm just amused that this got past the Comics Code Authority - still in full swing at the time. This comic came around the time that Dungeons & Dragons was getting all sorts of flak for having a demon-like Efreet on the cover of one of its books. Years later, Magic the Gathering would get the same kind of flak for featuring the pentagram. But just look at Damon Hellstrom here. Man, that is wild.
Looking at other aspects of the story we have a beautiful theme going here: Old West Ghost Towns. This kind of thing is not so much spooky but romantic. I know the real Old American West was far from the romanticized place we know now but I'm an adherent of the romantic view of the Old West, to me it's just another kind of fantasy place. Ben seems to agree with me as he wanders around a ghost town called Lawless.
Be prepared for the Thing to be absolutely ineffective in this story. We're talking spirits and ghosts here. 90-ton punches don't work on these things. Take this guy for example:
The ghost of Jedadiah Ravenstorm
Or this customer right here: Kthara, Mother of Demons
Ben gets to demonstrate his toughness and determination.
But that's about it. Thank, uh, God, that the Son of Satan is by Ben's side. Damon has recourse to his hellfire effect.
And the handy dandy trident (that's a technical term they use in hell).
All in all, this isn't really the issue of Marvel Two-In-One that you should bring to Sunday school.
Okay, enough about demons, now let's do vampires.
The story opens with a stunning splash page.
When Marvel decided to continue Dracula's story into the 20th century the series met with remarkable success. So Marvel decided to create it's own vampire. Witness, Michael Morbius, the Living Vampire. He's a living vampire to distinguish him from the undead vampires like Dracula. Morbius never died, a scientific procedure meant to save his life went awry and changed him into the creature you see above.
With the blood cravings of the classic vampire, Morbius was about to take a bite out of Alicia when the Thing stages a timely (and explosive) arrival.
I don't care if Morbius is a vampire, he has no chance against the Fantastic Four's powerhouse.
At one point during this story, Morbius describes himself and the Thing as "too well matched". That's a load of horseshit (batshit?), if it wasn't, Morbius wouldn't be flying out the window to get away from Ben like this.
With that it's time to introduce a seriously trippy character: the Living Eraser.
This extraterrestrial's power works like this.
Okay. Now we all know what is happening right here, don't we? Let me guess. Discussion among the creative team: The artist says, "you know what would be great? If we have a character with a power that has the same visual of me using an eraser". Boom. There you go. The Living Eraser is impossible to take seriously.
Anyway, he doesn't really erase his victims - he teleports them to another planet. I like it, no one gets killed, they just get moved. The Living Eraser's last known foe was this guy.
Okay, pretty soon we've got a free for all between the Thing, Morbius and the Living Eraser and both Ben and Michael get "erased". They're on another planet and Morbius treats the aliens like they were moving soda cans - he just sticks his fangs into them and sucks away.
All this while Benjy demonstrates that he can pull the rug from under anyone even if the rug is made of metal.
The two manage to get back Earth-side for a second showdown with the Living Eraser.
This time a successful one.
Behind all the action, this tale really showcases the Thing's guest star. Michael Morbius is a truly multi-layered character. Dracula is depicted in Marvel as an unrepentant predator. Morbius does give in to his urges but there is a struggle between the man and the monster he has become. In that other world, Morbius becomes heroic enough to earn female admiration.
The effect on the once-human Morbius is striking
It points to a tremendous regret for his lost humanity. All in all, I think Morbius was showcased very effectively in this tale.
And that, dear friends, is our Marvel Two-In-One three-in-one.